A letter to the USC Rossier community from Dean Noguera

May 20, 2022

Dear USC Rossier Community,

Since the Jones Day report was released, we have hosted town halls with students, faculty, staff and our Board of Councilors. I and other school leaders have had conversations with our alumni and education leaders in California and beyond. We have also continued to speak with Provost Zukoski and President Folt.

Those discussions reinforced my belief that by living up to its mission, regardless of our ranking, USC Rossier will maintain our strong reputation in the field and our future will be secure. The report and these meetings have shown us areas where we can improve and increase our transparency about how decisions are made. In the coming weeks and months, we will take actions to make USC Rossier an even better place to learn and work.

Provide data transparency
The Jones Day report raised questions about key metrics for USC Rossier, including acceptance and graduation rates for various programs, and how they are reported. Although the data submitted to U.S. News & World Report did not comply with the request, we have never sought to hide information and some of the data has long been available.

Going forward, USC Rossier will make the data typically requested by rankings services available through our website, starting with the correct data for the 2021-2022 academic year. We will do this regardless of whether or not USC Rossier participates in U.S. News & World Report rankings next year or not.

Establish a Dean’s Advisory council
During one of our town halls, one of our EdD students asked why USC Rossier is not leveraging the expertise of its students more to provide advice on the direction of the school. Starting in the fall, we will establish a dean’s advisory council of students drawn from across our master’s and doctoral programs to help guide the dean and school leaders on important issues.

Improving representation for EdD students
After the report was released, we heard from some EdD students who felt disconnected from the school community, including several who believed they were not eligible to join student government. This needs to change.

EdD students are eligible to join student government and other organizations, and we will make sure they know how to take advantage of these opportunities beginning with orientation.

Climate survey
The Jones Day report and the ensuing conversations with our community have surfaced concerns about our school climate. To truly fulfill our mission, we will take steps to ensure that every student feels welcomed and supported, and every faculty and staff member feels they have the support they need to do their best work. We want to empower everyone in the USC Rossier community so that they feel able to raise concerns and know they will be listened to.

New Faculty and A New Assistant Dean of Ed Leadership
As many of you know, we recently hired several distinguished new faculty who will teach in our education leadership program. I will mention three in particular: 1) Rudy Crew, the former chancellor of New York City, superintendent of Miami, and president of Medgar Evers College; 2) Greg Franklin, the former superintendent of Tustin and 2014 California superintendent of the year, and 3) Christina Kashimoto, the former state commissioner of Hawaii and former superintendent of Hartford, CT. In addition, I have recently appointed Dave Cash to serve as the assistant dean for leadership who will be charged with coordinating leadership programs and initiatives across USC Rossier; and a search committee recommended and I have approved the appointment of Maria Ott to serve as the new Melbo Chair of Education Administration. With these and other changes we propose to make, our educational leadership program will continue to provide excellent training to a future generation of education leaders.

Finally, in the coming year, we will engage an outside organization to conduct a climate survey and share those findings with the community. As part of the survey, we will seek input from current students who are graduating.

These will be the first steps we take, not the last. Please help us continue the crucial conversations we began this week. Together we will move USC Rossier forward. Fight on!!

Sincerely,

Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D.
Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean